My 2002 Diary

Going through my childhood diaries has turned out to be more emotional than I anticipated. I mean, I always knew they got me down, though I hadn’t quite anticipated how much they’d affect me. Immersing myself in their contents for more than a few minutes at a time brings me right back to the way I felt when I was writing them, and that’s been a bit difficult to overcome. I’ll have to be more selective about which entries to read fully, which to gloss over and which to skip. As Bethwyn reminded me last night, “I am not that person. I am me.” Anyway, here are the highlights of my journal as an 11-year-old!

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My brother and I bought our diaries at the same time, and he excitedly wrote a “fact” on the first day of each month. One of them was “As a stunt, a man ate a whole heap of lacky bands and then fell off a building. The lacky bands in his stomach made him bounce off the ground.” Classic creative genius.

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Much of what I wrote was about the troubled relationship with my brother. He was cruel and punishing in those days, and yet I had so many good memories with him as well. For instance, he kept me indebted to him through an ingenious sticker system where I bought expensive stickers and then put them together in various combinations for modest prizes. He also sold me some tags which prevented him from opening doors, touching items and seeing or remembering things. (They were expensive, and didn’t seem particularly effective.)

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As in my 2001 diary, I was very dramatic. For instance, I referred to a small patch of grass on the oval as “The Place that Evil Cannot Go”. Sapo was still among my closest friends (although I renamed him “Desdemona” from the Cairo Jim books), and I named Katrina my shorm (the person who I would trust with my life if they asked me for it) before I realised it was stupid. I swung wildly between hating and loving my closest friends.

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I was still obsessed with finding someone to love romantically. In the end, I concluded I didn’t love anyone at school, not even Jessica Carroll my best friend who I courted for most of the year. In fact, she got so sick of my attention that she invented a friend named Melanie White, who she convinced me used to be in love with me and I’d forgotten all about her. I spent much of the year trying to get more details about Melanie, gathering information rigorously (including a phone call where I spoke to someone who sounded suspiciously like Jess putting on a voice). In hindsight, I’m pretty sure Jess was just trying to deflect my affections but was in too deep to back out of the complex spirals of lies she had to spin to keep me from harassing her.

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Speaking of imaginary friends, I created an imaginary sister named Sarah, and an imaginary girlfriend named Velvet Dark (named from my favourite game at the time). I even wrote an elaborate story about how I reluctantly used violence to deter a bunch of bullies and win Velvet’s affection on her first day of school.

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It was very important to me to keep announcing how bored I was, even though I was having fun.

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I was pretty hardcore religious back then as well. I donated like 80% of my pocket money to charity, always took great pains not to use the Lord’s name in vain, and prayed the rosary just for the pleasure of it. When Jessica offered to teach me how to use her magical powers (healing, telekinesis, x-ray vision, telepathy, granting people speed and strength, making people nicer, powers of death and powers of resurrection), I refused them for myself because I considered it unholy black magic, even though they sounded really super awesome. I was obsessed with not sinning and taking God very seriously.

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That made it really awkward to explore my emerging sexuality, and I felt really, really awful about becoming a sexual person.

 

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I was also strangely obsessed with coming up with nicknames for Katrina.

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After watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and playing craploads of Perfect Dark, I created an amazing game where I got points for shooting cars, cyclists and pedestrians while my Mum drove me places. I started off with my “Agent Peace” (sedatives) character, and when I earned 5000 points I would earn enough to “genetically transform” into Agent Destructo (explosives), Agent Blast (magnums), Agent Shocker (electricity and lasers), and even the legendary Agent Dark (pistols, machine guns, shotguns, blowdarts, radioactive grenades, crossbows and lightsabers). In each case I’d have a variety of different weapons and ammunition strapped to my body and clothes – I knew where each gun was, how many bullets it had in the magazine and how many spare magazines I was carrying for each. As we were driving around, my Mum would glance over and see my hands working furiously, spinning imaginary guns as I shot at passersby.

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I invented a “trademark”, what I now call my emblem. Well to be fair I invented a few, though this one is actually meaningful and appeared on 30/05/02 in its earliest form. It’s a symbol I still use to this day.

Xin

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I was really obsessed with privacy as I started my journey through puberty. I considered it the most heinous crime to have my privacy violated, and it happened surprisingly often as my friends shared secrets I told them and my brother punished me by going through my stuff. I think it was the start of me casting out on my own, believing that I could only trust myself and that if I just had enough strength I wouldn’t need other people. Even then I had begun to think about suicide. Sad and dark times were ahead.

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Things weren’t all bad though. In one entry, I randomly wrote the following:
“I have incredible mental powers. Most people would have seen a psichiatrist by now, but not me. I can resist and smile very easily.”
I was a resilient young man, determined to face the world with a smile on my face, to forgive and to love in spite of my pain.

 

Reading these diaries has been an interesting experience for me. I’m not sure how I’ll go reading the next year, the worst of them. I think it will be elucidating and worth the effort though, so look out for that in the future. Now to go shake off all this old stuff that’s come back up.

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My 2001 Diary

After reading Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (an excellent and highly recommended read), I started going through my childhood diaries as part of the process of de-cluttering and letting go. I decided that I’d summarise each year of my life and then get rid of the diary itself, because I’m not that person any more, and I don’t think it’s particularly useful to hang on to a meticulously recorded list of things I did every day when I was 10-years-old. Rather, here are the parts of my diary which I think are interesting or insightful or just darn cute enough to preserve.

 

  • I treated my diary like a person, the imaginary little sister, the best friend or the girlfriend that I always wished I had. I went through a couple of different names for her: “Dear Diary/Sarah/Jessica/Ivy”.
  • I was a seriously hardcore gamer. I played games every single day, mainly Pokémon, Super Smash Bros., Perfect Dark, Mario Party and Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. I would play these for 3-10 hours a day, depending on whether I had to go to school. I can see now why I feel an urge to game if I haven’t played anything in a couple of days.
  • When Pokémon 2000 came out, I watched it every day for weeks. This is, undoubtedly, what led my brother and I to create an elaborate ritual where we would burn coloured candles outside representing the legendary birds in order to honour our collectible Mew card, which we buried in a waterproof box.
  • I re-read Harry Potter several times over, and created my first ever email account: Hermione4eva@hotmail.com.
  • I could jump down 8 steps.
  • My brother and I were really big on a made-up language called Gobbledegook or Gobbledegik. It was just a bizarre code, where words like “Age of Empires” would become “Ludderudgy Lumpy”.
  • My relationship with Eugene was one of admiration, hurt and betrayal. He was so clever, and so controlling.
  • Everything was very dramatic. I had a lot of arch enemies and a lot of people who I would have died for, and not much in between.
  • I had friends who were trees, my favourite of which was named Sapo. I wrote about the time I tried to heal him by stuffing a hole in his trunk with these weird little onions that grew in our school.
  • I tentatively started exploring my sexuality, and I was very embarrassed about it. I didn’t record any details, but I was very conflicted about whether it was sinful or not.
  • It was the first year we had a computer, I think, and I started using internet terms like “lol”.
  • I founded the Dark Knites, a spy club which was really quite poor at espionage.
  • Apart from gaming, if there was one thing I was obsessed with as a 10-year-old it was keeping strict records of who among my friends liked whom. Most of my diary was addressed to my crush, Jessica, and I spent months agonising over whether my love for her was true, and whether she loved me. The final verdict is that we dated for 10 minutes, exchanged “secrets” (which I’ve long forgotten), and then Jessica expressed that she no longer felt the same way about me. (I have since come to learn that she was just humouring me, but when it got serious she let me down gently.)

Ahh the heady days of youth.